Sunday, 16 December 2012

We had a Wild Weekend for Wales!

Friends of Henllys LNR were one of 190 groups across Wales who were successful in applying for free Homebase vouchers as part of Keep Wales Tidy’s ‘Have a Wild Weekend for Wales’ campaign.
Funded by Welsh Government, CCW and Homebase, the aim of the weekend-long campaign was to encourage groups to create new wildlife habitats to improve local biodiversity by undertaking small practical projects to benefit native species.
Children from Henllys church in Wales School and Friends of Henllys LNR rolled up their sleeves, got back to nature and gave local wildlife a helping hand on Henllys Local Nature reserve by building habitat boxes for protected species of bat and dormice. We were successful in applying for a £ 100 Homebase voucher which we used to buy wood, nails, and screws.

Henllys Church in Wales Eco-Club making and camouflage painting the bat and dormouse boxes
The Friends spent a day making the kits from the wood and Chris then visited Henllys Church in Wales School over 4 Thursday afternoons with the after-school Eco Club. Here everyone helped to make either a bat or dormouse box using loads of different kinds of tools. To decrease vandalism, we camouflaged painted the boxes, which were then finished over 5 lunchtime sessions. Finally, we came out and met TCBC’s woodland and Education Ranger, Jon Howells, who with Chris and 19 children put up the boxes on Thursday 13th December in -2ยบC. We were all wrapped up nice and warm.
Henllys Church in Wales' Eco-Club with Chris from Friends of Henllys LNR and Jon Howells, TCBCs Woodlands and Education Officer putting up the boxes on the Local Nature Reserve
The children and everyone had a great time, we went back to school to warm up and prepared a press release to tell everyone about the great work we had done.

Sonny, aged 7, said, “I enjoyed the hammering and putting the wood together”.
Nicole, aged 8, added, “When we went to the Nature Reserve, it was a bit cold, but we had so much fun looking at our bat and dormouse boxes being put up and seeing the nature’s camouflage”.
Mrs. Sulway, After School Eco Club teacher said, “It was fantastic to see the club take on such a practical project.  All the children involved have been so full of excitement and have been looking forward to working with Chris each week.  The trip to the Nature Reserve allowed the children to see all their hard work put into practice”.
Chris Partridge from the Friends of Henllys LNR added, “We are a small group that have struggled with numbers for years.  We have quickly found a great way to bolster the work we can do on the reserve, while helping inspire the next generation.  It was immense fun and the boxes look amazing, we couldn’t have done it without the Wild Weekend Homebase vouchers”.
Each year Friends of Henllys LNR volunteers between 600-800 volunteer hours on our Local Nature Reserve. Most of these hours are spent pulling up balsam, although our winter management plan will start to increase this. These numbers of hours are staggering considering the small number of volunteers we have. Over this month, working with Henllys church in Wales after-school Eco-Club, we have worked 113 volunteer hours, but have inspired and educated so many local children, so much so that other children have asked to join the Eco-Club. The Eco-Club teacher asked if there is anything her infants can do, so we may do a bug hunt in the Summer in the tall grass. There'll be plenty of balsam waiting for the older children come the end of May-August 2013, subject to insurance of course. 

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